Over two days in October, eight Russian cruise missiles screamed out of the sky and obliterated tens of millions of dollars’ worth of critical machinery at this city’s hulking coal-fired power plant.
The attacks were designed to leave Ukraine cold and dark this winter. But they also deepened a financial crisis for the plant’s owner, Rinat Akhmetov, the country’s richest man.
Akhmetov’s wealth has dived from $7.6 billion to $4.3 billion since Russia invaded Ukraine in February, according to Forbes. In 2012, before Russia annexed Crimea and backed separatists in Ukraine’s east, locations where Akhmetov also had numerous assets, the magazine estimated his wealth at $16 billion.
The losses are largely from Russia’s destruction and confiscation of his vast networks of power and steel plants, coal mines and agricultural operations. Most notable were his two huge steel plants in the port city of Mariupol, including Azovstal, where Ukrainian fighters staged a defiant last stand against Russian forces earlier this year. Akhmetov is suing Russia for up to $20 billion in the European Court of Human Rights. [Continue reading…]